In the second of a 12-part series, we list out all the places you should visit and all the festivals you should celebrate through the New Year!
Part 1: India's January festivities
What better way to start the New Year than planning for your next trip, right?
And while it isn't very late even now to make bookings for the some of the January festivities -- see the full list here -- if you are big on planning, here's where you can go in February!
Jaisalmer Desert Festival
Start off your second month of the year with a visit to the desert.
Jaisalmer is a wonderful city to visit anyway. But for three days each year, it is at is absolute best!
Between February 1 and 3 this year, Jaisalmer will play host to the Desert Festival will see camel parades, turban-tying competitions, contest of the longest moustache, music and dance performances.
Don't miss the Camel Tattoo show courtesy the good folks from the Border Security Forces, a stunning air show courtesy the Indian Air Force and a folk concert under the stars amidst the dunes of Sam.
Sounds magical, does it not?
Photograph: Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters
Surajkund International Crafts Mela
From Jaisalmer, carry on to Faridabad, Haryana to attend the international crafts fair at Surajkund.
The annual fair that is held between February 1 and February 15 every year, started out in 1987 with the idea of showcasing works of some of the best artists that celebrate of Indian folk traditions and cultural heritage.
Ethnic cuisines from around the world, folk dance and music performances and joyrides will ensure your little ones aren't bored out of their wits.
The fair has a state for a theme each year. This year it is Goa.
Photograph: Raj Kumar/Creative Commons
You don't need to tell the Goans how to party.
The fun-loving folks celebrate the last few days before Lent in style.
Fancy dress balls, floats, parades, endless rounds of dancing and drinking and feasting mark the celebrations of the Carnival even as 'King Momo' the appointed 'festival ruler' parades through the streets of Panaji.
Live it up at the Goa Carnival between February 14 and 17 this year.
Photograph: Clive DS/Creative Commons
This is the day when Lord Shiva danced his frenzied tandava or celestial dance of destruction.
Devotees flock to Shiva temples to seek blessings of the God for the year ahead.
The Mahakaleswar Temple at Ujjain sees special celebrations as does Mandi in Himachal Pradesh.
In Mumbai, the Babulnath Temple in South Mumbai sees thousands of devotees queuing up to pay respects to their favourite god.
This year, Mahashivratri falls on February 17.
Photograph: Nevil Zaveri/Creative Commons
Khajuraho Dance Festival
If the Desert Festival and the Crafts Mela don't interest you, you could always head to Madhya Pradesh for the Khajuraho Dance Festival that is (tentatively) being held between February 20 and 26 this year and is a great place to witness classical dance forms round the country on one platform.
Photograph: Raj Patidar/Reuters
There are several places to experience India's varied cultures and their arts, cuisine, dances and music.
There is however just one that offers you all of that in the backdrop of the Taj Mahal.
Wrap February up with the Taj Mahotsav, held between February 18 and 27 this year.
Photograph courtesy: Taj Mahotsav on Facebook